The threat of a possible transfer ban has been lifted from Manchester City after the court of arbitration for sport (CAS) ruled in the club’s favour regarding the signing of Benjamin Garré from Vélez Sarsfield.
Garré, who joined City at the age of 16, found himself at the centre of the case as Vélez alleged that City had approached the academy product when he was 15 and subsequently broken FIFA rules by signing the teenager before his 18th birthday.
FIFA’s rules on the subject state that a player cannot leave their home country until they are 18, unless the player’s parents move countries for “non-footballing reasons”.
And while Vélez’s initial complaint was dismissed by FIFA, the Argentine club took the case to the court of arbitration for sport.
FIFA had deemed that Garré’s Italian passport meant he was free to join City at 16 and despite Vélez’s claims otherwise, CAS has sided in favour of the Premier League champions.
“The appeal filed on 12 December 2016 by Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield against the decision issued on 24 August 2016 by the single judge of the sub-committee of the Fifa players’ status committee (the challenged decision) is dismissed and, accordingly, the challenged decision is confirmed,” the statement from CAS read.
Benjamin, grandson of World Cup winner Oscar Garré, has been one of the most highly rated prospects at youth level for Argentina and the attacking midfielder has already played a part in City’s under-23 set-up, scoring against Rotherham in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy.